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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wes Finch fails the Billy Bragg elevator test

I've been hoping to find a way of writing about Wes Finch for a while.

At the Warwick folk festival he played a version of Richard Thompson's Vincent Black Lightning that was so good it made you forget to breathe: to be honest I don't think the recording I've linked to there really does it justice. Judging by the wild applause he received Finch, who's local to Warwick, impressed more people than just me that afternoon.

I spent good money buying the album, Mayflower, (above) listened to it a couple of times and then forgot about it for a few weeks until my stereo developed a mind of its own one day and stuck it on. By then the CD had become separated from its cover and while I was scrabbling around confusedly thinking "Bloody hell, that's good. What is it?" several of the tunes had become earworms. Check out Good morning, captain! and Bowl of Stars.

So I rang him, in order to find something to say that you couldn't hear for yourself by listening to the album, explaining that I tend not to write reviews because I don't think on the whole they're very useful. The beauty of blogging, anyway, is that you can embed the music and let other people make up their minds.

Wes gamely told me a bit about himself. Turns out he's 36, has recently gone full time with the music, which he can do because he plays in a band that does covers for weddings called Doc Emmett Brown, after the character in Back to the Future, and another called By Lantern Light. As a solo artist he's working on a project with Gerry Diver, who has recently produced albums for Lisa Knapp and Sam Lee, though I always think he sounds like a character from The Beggar's Opera. And then, to show what a pro he was, Finch also came up with a good anecdote.

"I supported Billy Bragg at the Royal Shakespeare Company's theatre in Stratford recently and they gave me the male lead's dressing room, which had a balcony over the river. I'd like to become accustomed to that kind of thing... And it's an amazing place to play because there's this wall of people in front of you.

"I'm not sure whether I could say that I really met Billy Bragg though. We shared a lift but he seemed a bit preoccupied, and I don't really talk about politics or football so I didn't know what to say. Plus for a while I didn't recognise him: he was in kind of a disguise."

"That'll be the beard," said Billy Bragg, over Twitter. "It does have that effect on people."

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